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Sacramento life insurance agent arrested on 100 felony counts

Posted On Tue, November 17, 2009

A licensed life insurance agent was arrested on 100 different felony counts that are tied to an alleged Ponzi scheme.

According to the California Department of Insurance, William A. Sassman, 41, of Sacramento, was arrested on the charges, which include 43 counts of felony grand theft, 40 counts of selling unauthorized securities, 16 counts of burglary, and a count of using a device, artifice or scheme to defraud. If convicted of all the charges, Sassman could face 20 years in prison.

The Ponzi scheme Sassman allegedly ran involved 35 victims, more than half of whom were senior citizens. Steve Poizner, insurance commissioner for the state, said that when the department gets wind of illegal practices that target seniors, it takes "swift action."

"Preying on our senior citizens is especially disgusting and those who do will be investigated, caught and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law," Poizner said.

Total losses tied to the alleged scheme, which appears to have lasted five years, come to an estimated $6.3 million. The CDI's investigation into Sassman's business practices is ongoing, and in the past also involved cooperation from the California Department of Justice.

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